Hands On Canon’s New CJ20ex5B 4K UHD Lens with Jeff Zachary, Deena Sheldon

Canon’s new CJ20ex5B 4K UHD lens has just hit the streets but it is already winning converts, including Jeff Zachary and Deena Sheldon, two well-known and respected camera people who had a chance to test out the lens and capture some test footage that they say proves the strength of the lens given its wide-angle focal length of 5mm and 20x zoom. “It’s a fantastic lens and something we have been asking for for a long time,” says Zachary. “The magic of it is that you can go tight enough without being restricted when you need to go wide.”

Canon’s new CJ20ex5B 4K UHD lens.

With handheld operators typically working hard to get close to the action there is the dual challenge of, for example, zooming in on the quarterback from the corner of the endzone but then being able to pull back wide to capture the ball floating into the receiver’s hands which may, in fact, be happening right in front of the cameraperson.

“You want to get the tight dynamic shot of the quarterback throwing the ball and, in the past, you could not get wide enough so you would have to choose to either get the quarterback tight or the wide shot in the end zone. But with this you aren’t trapped, and you can gamble on the tight shot and still emulate the dynamic look of NFL Films. Getting both the feet and the catch at the same time is fantastic and the Holy Grail for me as a handheld or Steadicam operator.”

Jeff Zachary says the Canon’s new lens helps solve a number of issues with respect to handheld camera operations.

Zachary also says the ergonomics are spot on as the drive unit is placed so that it feels more centered which reduces fatigue. It also doesn’t need to have additional zoom and focus motors to be added.

“Fatigue in the forearm gets old after five hours of shooting,” he says. “Being plug and play with internal motors is a dream.”

Sheldon’s work on NFL games often has her facing the challenge that Zachary laid out and she says in situations like being on the goal line flexibility will come in very handy. Sheldon and Zachary also have built a small “Rovocam” system that is remotely controlled and can roll alongside golfers and in other applications where being discrete matters.

“We want to get super wide for that so we can shoot the golfer on the tee and then pull back and follow them down the fairway,” adds Sheldon.

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